He was still asleep when I walked outside this morning. I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. Last night he said we needed to talk, but once we were inside the house, I could tell he was exhausted.
By unspoken agreement, we remained silent. I showed him the guest bedroom and then went upstairs. I tossed and turned all night. Hard to sleep knowing he was so near.
Why had he come to me? And how did he even get to Angel Falls? He had no car, the closest airport was fifty miles away, and we didn’t even have a bus stop.
Life on a ranch doesn’t stop for an unexpected visitor. As I went about my daily chores, I couldn’t help but remember one of the last times we were together. A friend had hosted a party to celebrate the promotion of one of our coworkers.
She was there, of course. Anyone would have thought her engagement ring was the Hope Diamond by the way she flashed it around. And she possessively kept her arm linked with his. Seeing them together and not breaking down into tears was one of the hardest things I’d ever had to do.
Finally, I’d had enough. I wanted to leave, but it would have been rude of me, so even though the evening air was a bit chilly, I went outside to the porch. I needed some time to collect my thoughts.
It wasn’t long before he came and sat down beside me on the porch swing. We talked, remembering things that we’d been through together. Everything was work related. That was the extent of our relationship—partners, but also friends.
Almost an hour passed without us realizing it. Inside, the party was in full swing, as evidenced by the music and laughter. No one, not even her, had missed us.
“So, have you set a date?” I asked.
He looked away. “I, uh… Erica wants to get married soon.”
“What about you?”
“I don’t know what I want.”
My head turned in surprise, and I could see the uncertainty in his blue eyes.
“Don’t you know? Because of you.” And with that, he pulled me into his arms and kissed me. A long, slow, passionate kiss.
It was what I wanted. What I had dreamed of. But another woman wore his ring. I pulled away, stood up, and walked to the edge of the porch. He’d had ample opportunity to tell me his feelings before. The one embarrassing time I had opened up to him, he turned me away.
I looked back to see that he had also stood up, his head hung as if in shame. “Carly, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have—”
And that’s when the door opened. “There you are.” Erica locked her arm in his, gave me a look as if to say, “Hands off, he’s mine,” and led him back inside.
I called in sick the next three days, spent lots of time thinking about my future and reached a decision. I tendered my resignation before the week was out. Eventually, I got over him.
One of the horses nudged my arm, bringing me back to the present. Once I finished at the stables, I walked to the fence and looked out to the pasture and the mountains beyond the ranch.
When I heard footsteps, I looked to see him jogging toward me. Dressed in running shorts and a sleeveless shirt that showed all his muscles.
I felt my pulse quicken. Feelings that had long lain dormant were once again awakened.
Inspired by the daily prompt, Dormant.